US scolds China on human rights, Russia civil liberties

The United States on Wednesday scolded China for a litany of human rights abuses last year even though Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested during her recent Beijing visit that the issue would take a back seat to broader concerns like the global financial crisis. In a report on the state of human rights around the world, the State Department singled out China for numerous violations while noting a general deterioration in conditions in other countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe. The report noted some improvements in Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries where American troops are fighting insurgencies. Despite a return to civilian democratic rule in Pakistan in 2008, the report said human rights conditions there are still "poor." The report also took Russia to task for failing to protect the rights of their citizens, warning that civil liberties in Russia "continued to be under siege."